“8th Amendment”

Shampoo is a funny word. And in a matter completely unrelated to shampoo, this is an election year.

People are poised to attack, quivering with political righteousness on both sides of every argument. yesno


I feel the problem is clear. 

nocakeA bipartisan system such as the one we have in the United States is, by definition, not united. Bi- meaning of two and parti- meaning party, but not the kind with cake.

And given issues like the constant differing interpretations of our Constitution,  everything that happens in this country has to be agreed upon by these two opposing parties (still without cake).


The 8th Amendment is the one about cruel and unusual punishment.

davycrocNow, the phrase is “cruel and unusual” not cruel and/or unusual, which begs the question: is cruel punishment that is not unusual considered constitutional?

What about punishment that is unusual, but not cruel?

Forcing someone to wear a Davy Crockett costume every day for a month, and forbidding them to eat tofu or play badminton is certainly unusual, but arguably not cruel.

Whereas spreading rumors about someone via social media is quite cruel, but not terribly unusual. A child not wanting to shower/bathe is also not unusual.


Children don’t seem to mind being sticky.

StickyBridgieBut most people, somewhere between the ages of 13 and 25, decide they do mind being sticky and resign themselves to the daily task of self-cleaning. And many a free-form parent might say, “Let the kid get dirty. They’ll learn.” Debbie, however, knows how judgmental those other Hazelnut Grove Academy mothers can be. She’s already self-conscious about being one of the scholarship families, so she’s not about to give those “elitist snobby-snoots” any more fuel. And so, much to Bridget’s dismay, shampoo is strictly enforced in the Waters household. And shampoo is still a funny word.

_320 8th Ammendment

3 thoughts on ““8th Amendment”

  1. This blog is so creative and much fun to read. I love your examples of unusual (but not cruel) punishments, for example. You seem to have a very nimble and original mind! Ever thought about standup comedy, or writing material for it? Note I am not endorsing this as a likely lucrative career path nor do I have any connection in the field. Just seems like something you’d do well. 🙂


    • I actually have an ongoing fantasy about doing stand up. I practice mine when I’m driving. But I would encounter the same obstacles in that field as I do with comics. Most people prefer ugly humor. Mean or rude jokes. Still, I refuse to believe there isn’t an audience out there SOMEWHERE that wants truly kid-friendly humor.


  2. Your analysis is apt. In 1991, the US Supreme Court (Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957) acknowledged that a punishment could be cruel but not unusual, and therefore not prohibited by the Constitution.


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